THE GREEK supreme court has ruled that degrees from foreign universities are invalid if part of the studies take place at a branch in Greece. The ruling effectively blocks the way for the establishment of private universities.
Many foreign universities, particularly British, have set up outposts, called liberal studies workshops, which are allowed under Greek law. Students spend two years there before going on to graduate from the university itself.
The supreme court decided by 22 votes to five that, according to article 16 of the Greek constitution, "graduate titles where part of the study has been carried out in a branch or a department of a university whose headquarters is in another European member state are not valid".
The daughter of a deputy parliamentary speaker brought the case when the Transuniversity Degree Validation Authority refused to recognise her degree from a French university on the grounds that she had studied in Greece at a liberal studies workshop.
The supreme court upheld the decision, setting a precedent that the supporters of private universities in Greece will find extremely difficult to overturn.